balance

Don’t let hearing loss bring you down. With Balance Awareness Week around the corner (September 19-25), it’s the perfect time to make sure you’re on top of your hearing and balance health.

The vestibular system is located in the inner ear and is responsible for your sense of balance, detecting movements to provide awareness of spatial orientation. Many people don’t know about the link between hearing and balance; multiple studies have confirmed that untreated hearing loss is linked with imbalance and falls.

One study, published in 2020 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, showed a correlation between better hearing and better balance. Participants were given a hearing test and a balance test. Results showed that the odds of balance task failure were twice as high if a person had moderate hearing loss in at least one ear (compared with having no hearing loss or mild hearing loss). 1

Another study, published in 2014 by the Washington University School of Medicine, confirmed that enhancing hearing improves the balance of adults experiencing hearing loss. In the study, patients who wore hearing devices performed better on balance tests when their devices were on versus when they were off. 2

Professor of Otolaryngology Timothy Hullar, M.D., suggested this was due to more than just improved alertness; he hypothesized that we use sound to tell where we are in space, similar to how sight helps orient us. When hearing is compromised, our balance can suffer.

If you have untreated hearing loss, schedule a hearing test with Arizona Hearing Specialists at 520-448-2895.

1 Lubretzky, Anat V. (2020, April 23) Balance, falls, and hearing loss: is it time for a paradigm shift? JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaotolaryngology/article-abstract/2764668

2 Strait, J. (2016, January 13). Hearing aids may improve balance: The Source: Washington University in St. Louis. https://source.wustl.edu/2014/12/hearing-aids-may-improve-balance/